u(po\ panti\ li/qw| skorpi/on, w} e(tai~re, fula/sseo

Keep watch, o friend, for a scorpion under every rock

Praxilla of Sicyon was a Greek lyric poet circa the 5th century BC. Familiar as one of the nine "earthly muses" ( along with other female poets such as Sappho, she is known for such works as her hymn to Adonis, with its controversial lines and style unprecedented in the ancient world. She was also well recognized for her short witty drinking songs called scolia, typically sung after dinner, in one of which the fragment " Keep watch, o friend, for a scorpion under every rock" appears. Praxilla also composed hymns and dithyrambs (songs for dancing) on the love affairs of the gods and heroes, as well as on mythologial subjects. Sadly, only a few fragments of her work survive, none of the pieces in its entirety, and there is little general information about her works other then the criticism and comments offered by following generations of Greek and Roman poets and writers.

A sampling of Praxilla's poetry:

" The fairest thing I leave behind is sunlight

then shining stars and the full moon's face,

and also ripe cucumbers, and apples, and pears"

( Hymn to Adonis)

For More Information on Praxilla:

Praxilla on

Praxilla of Sycion from 1911 Encyclopedia

Images of scorpions

C. Campbell, St. Paul's School, 2003